OAKLAND (KCBS)— A number of East Oakland merchants want to put a detour in the path of AC Transit’s proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system along a stretch of International Boulevard. Many are worried it will have a major impact on their businesses.
The proposal calls for completion by Fall of 2015 and the 9.5 mile system that will run down the middle of the roadway, would connect Oakland to San Leandro.
Andy Nelson of the East Bay Youth Center walked down International Blvd. handing out flyers to merchants letting them know about the set times for planned rallies and protests.
“This is not about stopping the BRT. This is making sure that everyone benefits from and nobody gets hurt from the BRT,” Nelson said. “We’ve got four lanes here. The two middle lanes are going to be converted to bus-only lanes and there’s going to be raised platform stops every few blocks.”
Manuel Romero owns a glass shop along the bus’ route and isn’t happy about the loss of parking spaces.
“I’m going to lose everything that I’ve built during all these 40 years in business,” he said. Other merchants echoed that sentiment.
Both AC Transit and the City of Oakland sent an email to KCBS that said they will offer a “business sustainability program” that will provide technical assistance and financial services to the businesses and merchants affected.